Data deficit hampering progression of ethnic minority and disabled staff in the workplace


Ethnic minority and disabled people’s careers are at risk by a failure of employers to collect meaningful data on representation in the workforce, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has warned.

The national equality body is today calling for mandatory reporting on staff recruitment, retention and promotion by ethnicity and disability, as it publishes worrying research which shows that most employers fail to collect this data or do so inconsistently. It says that this means they are unable to remove the barriers to the progression and representation of disabled and ethnic minority staff in the workplace.

The research found that whilst a clear majority (77%) of employers say that ensuring workforce diversity is a priority for their organisation, less than half (44%) record or collect data on whether employees are disabled or not and only one-third (36%) record or collect data on employee ethnicity. Even fewer (23%) collect data on staff pay and progression that can be broken down by ethnicity and disabled and non-disabled staff. Only 3% of organisations actually analyse this data to explore differences in pay and progression between different ethnicities and disabled and non-disabled staff.

Just over half of employers say that they face barriers to collecting this data, including that it is too intrusive and onerous. The research also found that employers tend to use binary categories such as White/BAME and Disabled/non-disabled when reporting, which disguises vast differences between pay gaps for different ethnic minority groups or for people with different impairments. For example, Bangladeshi men born in the UK experience a 26% pay gap compared with White British men.